Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Curry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Hope everyone had a great Halloween! Sadly, I didn't get to dress up this year but what's even more sad was that I had NO trick or treaters. Guess that's just what this world has come to these days.

Oh well.

One of my other favorite Halloween past times are carving pumpkins (while watching scary movies and eating yummy food). The only thing that gives me more satisfaction than a finished pumpkin, is a tray of roasted pumpkin seeds. And yes, I enjoy digging the guts out of the pumpkin.

What? It is Halloween after all.

On to the seeds. Generally, I roast them with salt, pepper & maybe some garlic powder. This year, I wanted something better. I'd recently eaten some curry roasted cashews and fell in love. If you know me, you know I love curry. I was out of raw cashews and decided pumpkin seeds would be just as good.

And I was right.

Curry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 1/4 c. pumpkin seeds, cleaned and dried
1 T canola oil
1 t cumin
1/2 t curry powder
1/4 t garam masala
1/4 t turmeric
1/4 t salt

Preheat oven to 425. Mix pumpkin seeds with spices & oil. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 25 minutes turning once. Allow to cool on tray before devouring.

That's it. It's really that easy to make roasted pumpkin seeds. Mystery debunked? Hope so.

If not, throw the seasoning on raw cashews. Mmmmm. Next time.....next time.

(Note, the other 1 1/4 c of seeds was used to make a sweet version....didnt quite turn out as I had hoped. So next time...next time).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

It's been a yearly tradition that on Halloween (or close to it) I make Rachel Ray's Chipotle-Pumpkin Black Bean Soup while we carve pumpkins and watch Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street and pass out candy to whom ever dares come near the door thanks to some pretty vocal pups (Wow. Run on sentence much?).


Anyways, while in Denver I started thinking that the base of the soup, plus a couple other ingredients, would make an amazing chili. Let's forget that i've been home for a month and am now trying this recipe for the first time, shall we?

And let's forget the blurry camera phone photo I am about to show you...use your imagination ;)

Pumpkin Black Bean Chili, serves 4-6 (Vegan, Gluten Free--although i'm no expert on that subject)

2 T canola oil
1 med yellow onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 T chili powder
1 T oregano
1 T cumin
3 t garlic powder
1 t smoked paprika
1 1/2 t chipotle powder
1/2 t cinnamon
2 t Braggs liquid amino
12 oz Negra Modelo
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can water (I just measure it in the tomato can)
2 c. pumpkin puree

*In a large soup pot heat 2 T canola oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute for about 2 min until slightly translucent. Next, add diced bell peppers and saute for about 5 minutes to soften. Once soft, add spices and cook for about a minute while stirring (I like to do this to "wake up" the dried spices). Add in remaining ingredients and simmer until desired thickness~about 25-30 minutes.

Couple side notes:
~Feel free to add fresh minced garlic instead of the powder. I'd say 3 med sized cloves minced would be perfect.
~No chipotle powder? Remember you can order it here. If you don't want to do that, sub in 1 chipotle in adobo minced finely and maybe about 1 T of the adobo sauce.
~Don't like it spicy? Omit chipotle and double the chili powder. But, seriously, who doesn't like some spicy~ness every now and again? :)
~Don't have Negra Modelo? Sub in any dark beer. I use it because I love it. So there.
~No need to specifically by the bell pepper varieties I used here. Green would be just as fine I just got all 3 of the peppers for $2.88. Score in my book.

**Garnish with sliced scallions, cheese, sour cream (vegan or not). More pumpkin puree...why not? :)

Now, this may not turn out quite like you expect a chili might be. It's a tad creamier thanks to the pumpkin puree. It's delicious nonetheless. Next time I may up the Braggs & the cumin. I simply can't get enough cumin. I've gone through 2 jars in probably 4 months. Yup, goes with/on everything!

Now, what goes better with some chili? Some may say corn chips...I say cornbread! mmhmm

Beer & Cheddar Cornbread serves 9...maybe
Inspired by Ashley's cornbread recipe.

1 c finely ground cornmeal
1 c all purpose flour
3 T ground flax meal
3 t baking powder
1 t garlic powder
1 1/4 c Negra Modelo (why not?)
1 t Braggs liquid amino
3 T canola oil
4 T agave nectar (can sub honey, brown rice syrup or maple syrup)
1 c + 1/4 c Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Oil a 9 x 9 baking pan with canola oil (or spray with cooking spray).

In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, flour, flax meal, baking powder & garlic powder. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine beer, liquid aminos, oil & agave (in that order--oil 1st makes agave come out so easily). Add liquid to dry and stir until combined. It may look really liquidy. Keep whisking! It will eventually come together. Mix in 1 c. cheese. Pour batter into an oiled baking pan (mine was 9 x 9 I believe). Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Side notes:
~Wanna make it vegan? Swap Dairy cheese for Daiya cheez.
~Scallions would make a nice addition mixed into the batter. Cumin would be good too.
~Gluten-Free? See Ashley's recipe. I'm a firm believer in the saying "If it's not broke, don't fix it".

This was pretty delicious. I cooked it for 25 minutes and the knife came out clean. I think it could have cooked a few minutes more. It was a bit doughy to start. Also, was told it resembled banana bread....less agave next time for sure! Not bad for my first vegan cornbread. I have plans for version 2. Oh yes.

All I have to say is thank goodness my food is better than my photos.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chili Cheez Kale Chips..Take 1

SO, its been a while. Anyone who may have been reading in the past has probably forgotten all about me. I did, sort of.

I have excuses...you will probably not care but here goes.

Vacation in Denver. Amazing. Got to meet a super sweet girl you may know while there. Will share photos in the near future.

Fall cleaning. Lots of it...Need. To. Sell. Stuff. Going back to Denver in January. I did say it was AH-MAZ-ING!

Work. Too much of it.

Been visiting a friend of mine in the hospital. Prego with 1st baby, hasn't been the easiest road.

And lastly, laziness. Been feeling uninspired. Well, not so much uninspired. I have ideas, but I can't get them to come together.

Enter today's recipe. Notice I said "Chili Cheez Kale Chips..Take 1".

While delicious they didn't quite come out as I had imagined. They are good enough to make in the meantime though...fo sho.

PS do not be scared by the length of the ingredients...it's just spices people.

Chili Cheeze Kale Chips (Vegan, Gluten Free)

*1 head Kale~ de-stemmed, washed, dried and torn in slightly bigger bite~sized pieces (they shrink, of course)
*2 T Nutritional Yeast
*2 t Chili Powder
*1/2 t onion powder
*1/2 t garlic powder
*1/2 t cumin
*1/2 t salt
*1/4 t dried cilantro
*1/4 t oregano
*1/8 t chipotle powder (if you do not have this, sub cayenne pepper. I got mine from this store in Denver-LOVE)
*1/8 t black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Mix spices in a small bowl and set aside. Place cleaned kale in a single layer on a baking sheet (or 2, or 3) sprayed with cooking spray. Spray kale lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with spice mixture. All of the spice mix (It looked like a lot but it's necessary). Bake for 18~20 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheet before transferring. Store in an airtight container and enjoy.

**Now, it has to be said, the chipotle powder packs a serious punch. You can omit it if you don't like it spicy and just add extra chili powder or sub cayenne as mentioned above.

**I honestly can't tell you how long kale chips last simply because they usually are eaten with 1-2 days of being made. Who would want to let them sit?

**Feel free to sub dried minced garlic or onion if you have it. Omit the dried cilantro if you don't have it..I do and don't use it for much so I threw it in.

**If you didn't add the nooch, and doubled the amount of the other spices this would be a pretty good blend for tacos, roasted chickpeas, chili or even taco soup. Mmmm. Decisions.

Hope to not be so neglectful in the future. I've really missed you guys!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Saag Tofu...Take 1

I finally have an oven....YAY! It has felt like I was missing a limb not having an operable oven (yes, I am that attached).

Anywho, back to cooking!

This is a wink & a nudge to saag paneer. I was inspired when watching "Aarti Party" a few weeks ago and was going to try to make my own paneer but had some tofu I needed to use up hence tonight's recipe.

I happen to love any indian flavored food. Well, anything vegetarian these days. I've been eating a lot of curry dishes lately so I thought I would branch out and try another indian favorite.

This is my first run...it was good. But it will get better. Couldn't wait to share though (since I got a new oven!!!).

You will need....

For the "paneer"
1 Package Extra Firm Tofu

3 T canola oil
1 t turmeric
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t garlic
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t paprika

Drain Tofu and cut into 32 squares. On a baking sheet, layer squares between a clean dish towel. Top with another baking sheet and cover with a couple heavy objects that you may happen to have lying around....I used a gallon of water. Allow to press for at least 30 minutes to remove all extra moisture. In the mean time, in a small bowl (preferably one with a tight fitting lid), mix together marinade ingredients and set aside. Once tofu is pressed add to marinade and toss (lightly) to coat. Place in fridge and allow to marinate for at least an hour (I left mine in for about 5.5).

Preheat oven to 375. Place tofu squares on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. Cook 20 minutes, turning halfway.

Next comes the "Saag"
2 T Unrefined Coconut Oil
1 t coriander seeds
1 t cumin seeds
1/2 medium (or 1 small) onion, diced
1 jalapeno, deseeded & diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 t minced ginger
1 10 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3/4 c coconut milk
1 t salt
1/2 t garam masala
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg

In a large saute pan, heat coconut oil over medium high heat. Once heated, add cumin & coriander seeds~allow to "cook" (and by cooking I mean popping in the hot oil until you start to smell them--will be very quick). Add onion, jalapeno, garlic, ginger and some salt and saute until tender~about 5 minutes. Next add spinach breaking apart to separate and allow to warm through about 1 minute. Pour in coconut milk, garam masala, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining salt and allow to come to a boil. Let cook for a few minutes. Next, add in tofu and toss lightly to incorporate with the spinach.

Doesn't it look just like paneer?!?! So delicious. Serve along side grain of choice (I cooked up rice in the rice cooker with some coconut milk & water) and/or (whole wheat) naan {why not have both}. And feel good knowing that although this seems really intense, it took me about as much time to cook this as it did for my rice cooker to lazily cook my rice...about 25 minutes.

Do you have any favorite indian recipes besides curries? Please share...I am always looking for new Indian food to make :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


So, first things first. Let me just share my sob story. My oven is broke. We had a temporary replacement for a while but that had to go back to it's rightful owner. So I have been without an oven for about 2 weeks now. So cooking has gone to the side and in it's place we have cooked on the grill a couple times, went out to eat lots of times and ate foods that needed no cooking (i.e. raw veggies & hummus, cereal & salads). All those are fine and dandy..but honestly, who wants to live like that. Needless to say, I am ready for a new oven to come my way...and fast.

Ok, now that i've got that off my chest, let's get on to the real reason i'm here.


There used to be this fabulous little restaurant and wine bar about 15 minutes south of where I lived called Romesco's. I loved the vibe, the decor and, of course, the food. Anytime someone wanted to eat? Let's go to Romesco's! I brought anyone who had an appetite there because I loved it so much. And as unimaginative as this may be, aside from 1 visit, I ordered the same thing everytime. Grilled vegetable panini with romesco sauce. Oh, and a peach tea :)

It was worth every visit.

Romesco sauce, by definition, is a sauce originating in Tarragona (Catalonia, Spain) that is typically made from almonds, pine nuts, and/or hazelnuts, roasted garlic, olive oil and nyora peppers, a smaller, sweet, dried variety of red bell pepper. Other common ingredients include roasted tomatoes, red wine vinegar and onion.

And it's vegan too~something i'm trying to eat a little more of these days.

Unfortunately, the restaurant closed when it's neighbor (a furniture store) caught on fire and burned half of the building down including some of Romesco's. I prayed and prayed that they would reopen but to no avail.

I'm not sure what made me think of it as it's been closed now for about 4 years but I started craving that sandwich it was soon all I could think about.

So, here we are. Tonight's dinner. My way.

Grilled Vegetables with Romesco Sauce

Serves 4

1 large Eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 large Zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices
2 large Portabella Mushrooms, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices

Marinade (for the veggies)
3 T canola oil
2 T lemon juice
2 t dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt & cracked black pepper

Mix marinated ingredients in a large bowl. Add veggies and toss to coat. Let marinate for about 15~20 minutes stirring often. Set aside

Preheat grill. I found I needed no oil to grill my vegetables but lightly oil the grates if you'd like. Cook about 3~5 minutes per side until tender. Time will vary based on the type of grill you use.

Cheater's Romesco Sauce, makes 1 c sauce
1 roasted red pepper (jarred, in water)
1/2 c fire roasted tomatoes (from the can)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T red wine vinegar
3 T whole almonds
3 T whole hazelnuts
1 T ground flax meal Normally, bread is used to thicken. I have no bread in house so there you go.)
2 T water

Blend all ingredients in a food processor on high stopping every so often to scrape down the sides of the processor. Continue to process until it forms a smooth sauce, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste (I needed no salt~something I am trying to use less of). Refrigerate until ready to use.

This sauce was made for veggies but would be equally delicious over fish if you are so inclined. I would even go so far as to dip raw veggies in this (but i've had my fair share the last 2 weeks thank you very much).

I served mine over brown rice but obviously this would be great on a panini (Duh! Did you read the beginning of this post?) in a wrap, or even over greens. No salad dressing needed :)

Please excuse my sorry excuse of a photo. I was hungry and light was minimal thus flash was used. No bueno. I blame it on the oven.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What I ate Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!! Friday is so close, I can taste it :) Hope everyone is having a great week!

Here's Wednesday's Eats

Freeze Dried Pineapple mmmm

Olive Garden Minestrone & Breadsticks


Spinach Pie & Pasta Salad (extra feta please!)

Friday, July 29, 2011

*5 Ingredient Friday*

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you all had a lovely *quick* work week :)

It's time for another round of 5 Ingredient Friday! If you missed last weeks post, you can click on the link here & read all about my new series.

This Friday, I figured there was no better way to end the work week than with a dessert. A Granita to be exact. If you are unfamiliar with what a Granita is, it is a Sicilian semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings.

The only thing with granita's are that they tend to be a bit time consuming. So make this on a day off..when you plan to spend your day at home :)

Coconut Chai Tea Granita

1 can coconut milk, preferably full fat
4 chai tea bags
2 +1 c water
1 c sugar

*Place 1 c water + 1 c sugar in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Set aside & allow to cool.

*In a medium sauce pan bring 2 c water to a boil. Once water has reached the boiling point turn off the heat & place tea bags in water. Cover with lid & allow to steep until cool.

*Place glass baking dish in freezer while everything cools. ***Size DOES matter :) I would choose a bigger dish~More surface area=quicker freezing time!

*Once simple syrup & tea are cool, combine with Coconut Milk in baking dish and place in freezer.

*Check after about an hour to see if ice crystals have started to form. If so, rake through mixture with a fork to help separate.

It will start like this...

And eventually look more like this...

*Repeat this process every half hour to 45 minutes for about 4.5-5 hrs (depending on the size of the dish). I believe mine was 9x13 and I felt like it took FOR-EV-ER! Eventually, it will resemble what we know as italian ice..When it has reached this stage, it's ready :)

*Scoop it into your dish of choice and enjoy!

Slightly Creamy. Coconut~y. With a hint of chai. Mmmm

Definitely cooling and palate cleansing!

This will stay good in the freezer for a couple days, just rake it through with a fork before serving.

What's your favorite frozen treat to keep you cool during the summer?